As the graduation season winds down, I usually come across several articles or videos offering advice for new graduates. Sometimes I will even find a few inspiring commencement speeches that can stir your soul. Probably one of the most famous commencement addresses was given by Steve Jobs at Stanford in 2005.
Over the years, I believe that some people have confused the message behind Jobs’ speech and some of his other thoughts on career and life advice to simply mean to follow one’s passion. His focus which he reveals at the very end of his Stanford speech is to “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”
What is Your Passion
Passion is not something that just happens overnight. It is something that takes time to develop and shape with its essence surrounding a very important question: “What do I Want to be When I Grow Up?”
This graduation season I came across a very inspiring commencement address given by a young lady wise and more mature beyond her years. Ms. Bailey, who will be attending Indiana University at Bloomington in the fall, is a graduating senior from the International Academy located here in Michigan which requires students to earn both high school and International Baccalaureate (IB) diplomas. This is an extremely rigorous program that is more on par with college than high school.
In her impressive 3-minute address, Ms. Bailey not only asks what do you want to be when you grow up but just as important, who do you want to be when you grow up? Her answer, to be happy. As she closes her remarks, Ms. Bailey used one word that held my attention, strive.
Happiness is Pursued, Never Guaranteed
Thomas Jefferson in our Declaration of Independence noted three unalienable rights that we have as Americans, “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” But as we all know, happiness is something to be pursued and strived for but is never guaranteed.
When I started investing when I was 13 years old, I never once thought about wealth and asset management as something that I would do when I grew up. Going through college I had changed my major 3 different times and most were unrelated to what I do today.
However, it was that pursuit of trying to find out who I wanted to be that led to me finding the answer to what I wanted to be when I grew up. It wasn’t until later in life that I discovered that I was most happy when I was helping people to not only invest and manage their assets but when I could help people to realize their own happiness through the achievement of their own lifestyle and financial goals.
While there are no shortages of distractions in life that can take you off your course to pursue who and what you would like to be, Steve Jobs in his address provides some cautionary advice. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Ms. Bailey holds a very special place in my heart as her parents were some of my very first clients over 5 years ago when I started TAMMA. Their trust, faith, and belief in me along with all of my clients, has allowed me to continue to help others find and reach their own happiness, including my own.